Increasing IBS Awareness: Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Many people are impacted by long-term intestinal discomfort and bowel concerns. What they might not understand is that this could be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS impacts 10 – 15% of the population and is incurable. At Texas Digestive Disease Consultants in DFW, it’s our intention to increase awareness of this condition during April – IBS Awareness Month. Just because there is no cure, it doesn’t mean you have to live with ongoing discomfort.
Can we define irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic digestive condition that impacts gut function and affects the large and small intestines. In short, the grain and gastrointestinal (GI) tract have problems working together, and it causes the GI system to become sensitive and the colon muscle to contract more than normal.
These issues can provoke symptoms, such as gas, abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, loose stools, and more. If you have this disorder, you likely won't experience IBS symptoms every day. In reality, some days are entirely symptom-free while others are worse — it really just depends on the variety of IBS you have. The different types of IBS are:
- IBS with mixed bowel concerns
- IBS with diarrhea
- IBS with constipation
Our IBS specialists at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants regularly provide IBS treatment to DFW patients We can ascertain what kind of irritable bowel syndrome you have and help you find relief.
How is irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed?
If you've been experiencing symptoms of IBS, it may be wise to seek out the assistance of a gastroenterologist near you. Our staff can help you determine if your afflictions are irritable bowel syndrome or a different problem. Prior to a physical test, we’ll ask some questions to help us understand your symptoms and health history. In some cases, we may ask you to undergo a blood test or provide a stool sample as a way to rule out any diseases that may be misidentified as irritable bowel syndrome. Some of the common signs of IBS include:
- Stomach pain
- Bowel urgency
- Decrease in appetite
- Loose stool or constipation
Once we have enough evidence that you suffer from IBS, our GI doctors in DFW can recommend the ideal irritable bowel syndrome treatment to meet your needs.
How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?
There is no universal remedy for irritable bowel syndrome, so it may take some experimentation to identify an IBS treatment that works for you. However, many patients discover that they can make some diet and activity adjustments and have great results. Common changes that generally have an impact on IBS symptoms are:
- Avoiding all forms of caffeine
- Starting a daily exercise regimen
- Increasing fiber consumption (more veggies, fruits, grains, and additional fiber, like Metamucil®)
- Eating fewer dairy products
- Giving up smoking
- Consuming smaller meals more frequently instead of three larger meals
- Increasing water intake
It’s also helpful to maintain a food journal. This can allow you to pinpoint which foods activate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms so you can be proactive about not eating those items in the future. Additionally, if you take any medications, we might look at those to discern if any adjustments can be made to the type or amount.
Relief from IBS is within your reach
If you experience issues from irritable bowel syndrome, like abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and gas, it can be hard to schedule outings or activities, as this ailment can disturb even the most sacred events. We propose visiting our gastrointestinal specialists in DFW promptly so we can help you identify and alleviate your irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. While there is no universal remedy, it is possible to control your symptoms so you can do what you love. For additional information on irritable bowel syndrome or IBS treatments, contact Texas Digestive Disease Consultants today.